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Ridiculously Easy Roasted Corn

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I love fresh veggies in the summer. We are so fortunate to live in an area surrounded by local farms that offer fresh veggies at a very low-cost, and I really wanted to enjoy these treasures year-round, so I bought a vacuum sealing system for $20 on an online yard-sale and realized that it was the best money that I ever spent!

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My freezer is full of green beans, berries. tomatoes, and corn. At the end of the season, I went to the farm across the street and bought three dozen ears of corn, then blanched them, and cut the corn off the cob. I then vacuum sealed them in family sized portions. It has been so nice to open a bit of summer during the doldrums of winter.

Last night, I was making a nice dinner for my husband, and I pulled out a pack of corn. I debated just steaming it, or sautéing it with some zucchini, but then I decided to roast it since the oven was hot, and I really didn’t feel like tending to the stove. Well, this was a stroke of brilliance. I will make corn this way from this point forward!

It’s so easy, with one step clean-up, and fool-proof instructions.

Here is the recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • Corn (frozen, or fresh off the cob)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • Parchment paper

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spray paper with olive oil spray (Really,you can use any variety of spray.)
  4. Spread corn in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme.
  6. Roast in the oven, about 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown.

That’s it! The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make the whole dish while any meat you are preparing gets a chance to rest. You capitalize on an already hot oven, and it requires no attention. Once it is done, transfer the corn to your plates, or a serving bowl, then sweep the parchment paper into the trash, and clean-up is complete! It doesn’t get any easier than that.

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Savory Pot Roast

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Pot roast, your perfect post pool day dish!

I know, you’re thinking “What kind of crazy loon makes pot roast in the middle of a heat wave in June??

Me!

While this does not seem like summer fare, I find myself juggling early mornings at swim team practice, then long activity filled summer days. I need slow cooker meals that will fill the starving bellies of my hungry monsters who are often “dying” and “starving” as they stagger around the kitchen whining for food at 4:30 on a Wednesday. And who wants to fire up the stove after a day of kid crazy??

This week was “Clean the Freezer Week” at my house, and I happened to have a big ol’ chuck roast in the freezer threatening to slip out and crush the tiny toes of a Popsicle seeking rummager. I figured I might as well pop it in the slow cooker and feed them a hearty meal. The result was well fed, happy kids who marched their satisfied tummies upstairs and slept well all night! SCORE!!

As for the recipe, This is an old family favorite, courtesy of my mother. Over the years, I have tweaked it a bit, but it still remains very much like the recipe of my childhood.

Savory Pot Roast

1 3lb beef roast

Oil for frying

Salt

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes OR ¼ cup catsup

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire

1 sprig of fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary

4 fresh garlic cloves OR ½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. dry mustard

In a Dutch oven or large oven safe pot, brown meat on the stovetop in small amount of oil. Sprinkle meat with a little salt. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over meat. Cover tightly, roast at 350 for 2 hours or until tender. Remove meat to heated platter. Skim excess fat from sauce. Spoon sauce over meat.

*** You can also cook it on low in a slow cooker for about 8 hours. I also add carrots and potatoes to cook in the sauce with the meat 🙂

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8

Lasagna Muffins

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My friend, Heather, always comments on my “pretty food”. So, I laugh and usually tag her in all of my “pretty food” Facebook photos. I like pretty food. It is nice to look at, you want to eat it, and most importantly, other people want to eat it (like my kids). Pretty food is also necessary if you want people to actually visit and interact with your food blog. But, pretty food has to taste as well as it looks. Pretty food is useless if it sucks, right? So I was so very happy tonight when my supermodel pretty food had hall of fame taste! WOW! When I say hall of fame taste, I’m talkin’ grand-slam H-O-M-E-R-U-N in the 9th inning of the World Series taste! So, naturally I am excited to share.

I made lasagna “muffins” or “cupcakes”. Whatever you call them, they were awesome! Now, I cannot take credit for this idea. It is all over Pinterest, and if you Google it, a million recipes will appear–Food Network, LOTS of blogs, Pinterest… the list goes on. So, why am I bothering to post? Well, when I looked at the other recipes, they were missing taste, so I took the time to blend this creative technique that others have already shared (why re-invent the wheel?) and I added the flavors that I integrate into my homemade lasagna. That is what makes mine different from all of the rest– the “better mouse trap, so to speak.

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Lasagna Muffins

The Sauce: (you can use jar sauce to save time, but then you compromise the flavor)

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  • 1/2  lb. of ground beef
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Brown ground beef, drain, & set aside.
  2. In the same pan, sautee fresh minced garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Pour tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add sugar, salt, & pepper.
  5. Add beef and simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The Cheese:

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  • 16 oz. of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fine shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small dash of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of salt & pepper
  1. mix all ingredients, blending well.

The Rest:

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  • 1 pkg. of square wonton wrappers. (about 3 inch squares)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • cooking spray

1. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.

IMG_06583. Add a small spoonful of cheese to cover the bottom of the cup.

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4. Add a small spoonful of sauce.

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5. Top with another wonton wrapper. 
6. Add another layer of cheese, then sauce
7. Top with parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese

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8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes.
9. Let them rest in the pan, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes. (if you cheat, they will fall apart)

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*** AWESOME VARIATION***

If you want to make these as an appetizer, or if you have extra wrappers, cheese, & sauce, make them as a single layer in a mini-muffin pan. They are like the cutest little one bite appetizers!

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Picture-less version:

Lasagna Muffins

The Sauce: (you can use jar sauce to save time, but then you compromise the flavor)

  • 1/2  lb. of ground beef
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Brown ground beef, drain, & set aside.
  2. In the same pan, sautee fresh minced garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Pour tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add sugar, salt, & pepper.
  5. Add beef and simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

The Cheese:

  • 16 oz. of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fine shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small dash of nutmeg
  1. mix all ingredients, blending well.

The Rest:

  • 1 pkg. of square wonton wrappers. (about 3 inch squares)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • cooking spray
  1. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each cup.
  3. Add a small spoonful of cheese to cover the bottom of the cup.
  4. Add a small spoonful of sauce.
  5. Top with another wonton wrapper.
  6. Add another layer of cheese, then sauce
  7. Top with parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes.
  9. Let them rest in the pan, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes. (if you cheat, they will fall apart)

*** AWESOME VARIATION***

If you want to make these as an appetizer, or if you have extra wrappers, cheese, & sauce, make them as a single layer in a mini-muffin pan. They are like the cutest little one bite appetizers!

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Magnificent Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs may be the greatest form of comfort food. Sometimes you crave it on a cold, blustery day when you are looking for something to warm you from the inside out. And other times, I think it is the perfect way to fill a belly after an exhausting summer day at the pool. The bottom line is that this is a great go to meal that is sure to please!

The Meatballs–

1. Put 2 lbs. of ground beef in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mince the garlic. A good garlic press is essential to any kitchen. You would be wise to invest in a good one.

3. Add the remaining ingredients. If your kids like to cook with you, this is a good task for them. I know that my little helpers like to help me measure and “dump” it all in the bowl.

4. Use your hands (or your stand mixer if the thought of raw meat skeeves you) to blend the mixture well.

5. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.

6. Place meatballs in even rows onto a parchment lined baking pan.

7. Bake about 30 minutes at 375.

8. Heat up 2-4 quarts of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce

9. I enhance my sauce with 1/4 cup of red wine, 4 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons each of fresh basil & fresh oregano. (optional)

10. Drop cooked meatballs into a boiling pot of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce.


11. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. (The longer, the better)

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Serve over spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and a big slab of garlic bread!

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Ingredients

2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:

Preparation:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
2. If you are skeeved by raw meat, use a stand mixer on low speed until blended.
3. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.
4. Place meatballs in even rows onto a parchment lined baking pan.
5. Bake about 30 minutes at 375.
6. Drop into a boiling pot of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce.
7. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. (The longer, the better)

**serve over spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and a big slab of garlic bread!

4

Braised Short Ribs (That will cause you to lose your manners)

This was good. This was so good that I wanted to abandon all the manners that I have taught my children and lick the plate! And then, when dinner was over, and we were doing the dishes, I yearned for lunch the next day so that I could have leftovers. This is just one of those meals.

Don’t save this for company. Make this for yourself. It is perfect for a lazy Sunday. Oh, and put your pajamas on before you eat, because when you are done, all you will want to do is lay on the couch and not move your overstuffed belly.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless short ribs
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 shallots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 750mL bottle of Cabernet, or dry red wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme & rosemary, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of beef broth

Directions

Sprinkle each short rib generously with salt & pepper.

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Then coat each rib in flour, shaking off any excess.

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Coat a large dutch oven or stock pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, chop all the vegetables coarsely in the food processor.

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Don’t forget the shallots & garlic!

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When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan.

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In the same pan, and remaining oil, saute the vegetables until soft.

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Use a wooden spoon to scrape the schmuge* off the bottom of the pan. Once the vegetables are soft, transfer them to a food processor and puree.

* Schmuge– n. 1. The very browned bits at the bottom of a pan that contain all the good flavor for your dish. 2. n. The gross, grayish gook that collects at the corners of your child’s mouth, usually when your mother-in-law is about to come over, or when you are walking into a fancy function with your children in tow.

Return the pureed vegetables to the pot and add the tomato sauce and add the wine. Heat until it starts to boil.

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Return the short ribs to the pan and add the thyme/rosemary bundle and bay leaves.

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Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add beef broth, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. The meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve over mashed potatoes with the braising sauce.

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Now, this is where the sweat pants come in handy. Just look at how yummy!

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And then…you get this!

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…which is where it all gets awkward, because you will want to lick your plate, in front of your children, and husband. Plus, you may find yourself “stealing” bites from the pan, or your family member’s plates. But it is all good! You can now retire to the couch with a full belly, and a happy heart knowing that you produced something so fantastic!

9

Doritos Enchilada Casserole

Nothing like junk food

To add to the mix

To make your kids eat

A quick Mexican fix…

       Rarely do I buy junk food such as Doritos, not because I have that much nutritional control over my children, but because I have no personal will power not to absent-mindedly polish off the whole bag myself. Anyway, I ended up with an extra bag of regular Doritos after my daughter’s birthday party. In an effort to not sabotage my quest for skinny thighs, I created a casserole with this tasty temptation.

     First, I started with the filling. Brown 1 1/2-2  pounds of ground beef in a skillet and drain.

Return the meat to the pan and add 2 packets of taco seasoning, 1 can of enchilada sauce, 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Garlic Diced Tomatoes, and 1 large chopped zucchini.

Mix together and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Next, coat the bottom and sides of a pie plate or casserole dish with half a can of enchilada sauce, much like you’d grease a pan.

 Next, layer with small tortilla shells, overlapping them and pressing them into the scallops of the dish.

Now, spoon the meat mixture into the dish filling it about 2/3 of the way.

Top with 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

Finally, crush Doritos in a resealable bag. I used about 3-4 handfuls.

Sprinkle on top of the casserole, and drizzle with the remaining enchilada sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbly with crisp edges.

Let rest 5minutes before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 -2 lbs. of ground beef
  • 2 packets of taco seasoning
  • 2 cans of enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Garlic Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 large zucchini chopped
  • 1 pkg of 16 small tortilla shells
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 bag of Original Doritos Nacho Chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Brown ground beef and drain.

2. Combine beef, 1 can of enchilada sauce, 2 packets of taco seasoning, tomatoes, and chopped zucchini in a large skillet and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Use half a can of enchilada sauce to coat the bottom and sides of a large pie plate or casserole dish like you would grease a pan.

4. Overlap the tortilla shells in the dish to create a crust. Press firmly to the bottom and sides of the pan.

5. Spoon in meat mixture until the dish is 2/3 full.

6. Top with shredded cheese.

7. Sprinkle with crushed chips, and drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.

8. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the edges are crisp and bubbly.

Variations–

  • You can add whatever mexican toppings that you would normally add to a taco or burritos.
  • Make it vegetarian by substituting the beef for beans, quinoa, or rice.
  • Substitute beef with chicken, fish, or turkey.
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Fabulous Cheeseburgers

Submitted by the Fabulous Food Fairy

• 2 lbs. Ground beef
• 1 packet of Lipton Garlic & Herb Soup Mix
• 2 eggs
• 3 Tbsp. Steak Sauce
• ½ C. Italian Bread Crumbs
Place all ingredients into a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until blended (about 30-45 seconds)
Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
Form into patties, slightly larger than your palm.
Place on the grill, adding American cheese in the last minute.

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Easy Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a regular in my weeknight dinner rotation. I love them because they are easy, picky-kid approved, and my family leaves the table happy with full bellies. I also love this recipe because it allows room for creativity. You can add ingredients such as beans, tomatoes, pepper, beef, or chicken to suit your families likes. You could even go crazy and hide some finely chopped zucchini if you are trying to secretly increase your family’s veggie intake. ( I won’t tell!)

Ingredients

4 boneless chicken breasts (or you can use ground beef)

1 packet of taco seasoning

2 cans of Enchilada sauce

1 8oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 package of medium tortilla shells

Procedure

  • Brown 4 boneless chicken breasts in a skillet and chop them in your food processor– (you can use ground chicken or beef too)
  • Put chicken back into the skillet & add 1 packet of taco seasoning and 1 can of enchilada sauce. Add 1/2 a bag of shredded cheddar cheese and allow it to melt.
  • Coat a casserole dish with 1/2 a can of enchilada sauce
  • Spoon a glob of the meat mixture onto a tortilla shell– you can also add some chopped peppers & tomatoes if you like.
  • Roll up the Enchilada and line them up in the dish seam side down.
  • Once they are all rolled up, pour the remaining sauce over the dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

***Serve with saffron rice and steamed broccoli